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Changing Destiny

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Changing Futures". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Now that they've found a new home, what will they find and do darker times lie ahead?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Lord of the Rings > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Other BtVSBillGopherFR181455,54875529,19420 Oct 062 Oct 07Yes

Interlude 2

Changing Destiny

Author's note - This is it, the final chapter of Book 2. I hope everyone who's stayed has enjoyed the story so far :-)

Interlude 2

It had taken them only a few minutes to see how word spread of their ‘return’ and realize that everyone was trying to fit themselves into Buffy’s private room. It was then that Faith had taken matters into her own hands and started throwing everyone who wasn’t supposed to be in the room…out. That meant only the Healers and Buffy stayed, both Willow and Faith quickly moved outside the hospital before things got too much out of hand.

Willow saw Aiesha and Robin walking over towards them, Aiesha’s face was dark with controlled anger and Willow saw Robin was wearing a more neutral mask and steeled herself for the coming confrontation.

“You went ahead and did it? Didn’t you!” Aiesha asked accusingly as soon as she was close enough.

“Do you mean did I summon Buffy’s Soul or something else?” Willow asked calmly in the face of Aiesha’s anger. With a gesture Willow told Faith to stay out of this.

“Then you admit it? You broke a sacred law of Balance, Priestess.” Aiesha said formally. “You know what that means…”

“I admit nothing. I will speak to the Coven at moonrise tonight about what happened and what this means for us as well.” Willow replied just as formally.
With Willow’s answer Aiesha stared at her hard for a minute before stalking away.

“Don’t take it personally Willow. You know how touchy Aiesha is about anyone playing around with the Balance of Life.” Robin offered. “It is damn good to see you though. After you and Faith disappeared it threw everyone for a loop, no-one knew what to do. Buffy was in a coma and with you two gone suddenly…”

Willow exhaled softly, “Yeah, I can bet it did. It wasn’t exactly what I planned on either, but it worked sort of, we did find Buffy…”

“Yeah, I can see that. I’m looking forward to hearing what happened though.”

+++++++

Moonrise

Willow finished telling her story of how she and Faith got Buffy back and what they’d found out while they were on Valinor and looked around the Circle to the six Senior Witches of the Council. To Willow’s relief she only saw nods, the last person to cast her vote was Aiesha and Willow waited, certain she’d done the right thing *this* time. Finally, Willow saw Aiesha nod.

Standing up and looking around the Circle at the other Witches, “The Vote has been made and it is unanimous.” Aiesha said without a smile. Aiesha walked over to Willow, stopping directly in front of her. “Welcome back Priestess.” Aiesha said smiling now.

“Thank you, it’s good to *be* back.”

++++++++++

One Year Later…
42 Ethuil (May 8th), SA 2

Sachiko watched with a great deal of amusement as Buffy nervously paced back and forth in her clothes. Dressed in a long, snow-white skirt that was down to her ankles, but was cut so that it showed off most of Buffy’s right leg from her mid-thigh down, a white sleeveless vest with a low collar and tied over her stomach and left a generous amount of her breasts showing finished Buffy’s outfit. “You can relax any time Buffy. They already said ‘yes’.”

Buffy stopped her pacing to give ‘Chiko a cold stare. “Bite me. Besides, we’ll just see how calm and relaxed you are when it’s your turn on this side of the altar.” With that Buffy started her pacing once again.

“Never gonna happen there Buff. I’m not a ‘settling down’ kinda gal and I haven’t found the man *or* woman that’ll make me change my mind either.”

“We’ll see,” Buffy said and with that pronouncement Buffy heard the music start and straightened her clothes for any imaginary wrinkles for the millionth time in the last hour. Pushing the curtain aside Buffy walked out into the sunlight open glade, ahead of her Buffy saw Willow waiting for them. Glancing to her right, Buffy saw Faith across from her. Faith was dressed in a pair of form-fitting black slacks, a v-necked black shirt with long sleeves and Elvish designs in silver danced on the front and back of the dark green vest she wore over the shirt. Willow had thrown a fit over Faith’s desire to wear black and Buffy had expected a war to start when Faith declared ‘I ain’t a virgin and I ain’t pretending to be one, so stop trying to get me to wear white!’ Faith’s reply had effectively ended the discussion as Willow sat close-mouthed after Faith’s outburst.

Buffy continued walking until both she and Faith were now side-by-side as they walked towards Willow who was waiting for them inside a large circle made of crystals with a small altar in the center of the circle where Aiesha stood dressed in her formal White Priestess’ dress. Both Buffy and Faith stopped before the circle.

“Who are you and why do you come here this night?” Aiesha asked as she stood in front of the two who sought to enter the Circle.

“My name before was Faith Lehane, now I am Ringwën Nuruhuine. I come with open hands and heart to marry the woman we both love.” Faith answered and saw a small smile on Aiesha’s face that was quickly covered up.

“And you?” Aiesha asked as she turned her head to look at the second petitioner.

“I was born Buffy Anne Summers, but since then I am also known as Fëaurúva Arnehtar and I have come here to marry both women that I love.”

“Then enter Buffy Anne Summers and Faith Lehane.”

Buffy and Faith walked to the Inner Circle where Willow stood in front of the Altar and took their places on opposite sides of the Altar, Aiesha joined them a minute later opposite Willow.

“Blessed be all who attend this glorious celebration, and blessed be those about to be united in the bonds of love.” Aiesha said loudly. Picking up a censor with incense already burning inside Aiesha turned to her left so she was facing East and spoke out loud;

“Hail to thee, I call upon the Gryphon and Guardian of the Watchtower of the East.
Watcher and master of the Eastern Winds and the Spring.
Come and join us at this Circle.
I call and stir you up, bring your astral winds and grant us thy presence and thy blessing.
Come and be welcome in this our rite.
Seal, Make Fast and Guard this Holy Place.
Blessed be.”

As she finished the invocation Aiesha drew symbol in the air that glowed Yellow before fading. Hiding her surprise, Aiesha placed the censor back on the Altar and picked up a candle facing South;

“Hail to thee, I call upon the Phoenix and Guardian of the Watchtower of the South
Watcher and master of the South wind, be with us in passion and in truth,
Bring us the warmth of the hearth fire and the summer sun.
Come and join us at this Circle.
I call and stir you up, bring your bellowing fires and grant us thy presence and thy blessing.
Come and be welcome in this our rite.
Seal, Make Fast and Guard this Holy Place.
Blessed Be.”

Aiesha drew the symbol for Fire that glowed Red before fading and the candle wick started to burn, Aiesha felt her heart speed up slightly at this, but turned around back to the Altar, putting the candle down and picking up the silver bowl that was filled with water and facing West.

“Hail to thee. I call upon the Unicorn and Guardian of the Watchtower of the West.
Watcher and master of the Western wind, be with us in feeling and in vision,
in the evening tide's mystery and the upwelling autumn dreams.
I call and stir you up, bring your cycling tides and grant us thy presence and thy blessing.
Come and be welcome in this our rite.
Seal, Make Fast and Guard this Holy Place.
Blessed Be.”

Preparing herself Aiesha drew the Symbol for Water in the air before her, watching the Symbol burn Blue before fading like the others. Her hands slightly shaking Aiesha returned the bowl to the Altar before picking up the final Symbol, a bowl of salt and turned to face North;

“Hail to thee. I call upon the Dragon and Guardian of the Watchtower of the North.
Watcher and master of the North wind and ruler of all winds,
Dwell here with us in this holy place, be with us in solid strength and permanence,
the safe womb of night and the slow movement of winter.
I call and stir you up, bring your enduring strength and grant us thy presence and thy blessing.
Come and be welcome in this our rite.
Seal, Make Fast and Guard this Holy Place.
Blessed Be.” Aiesha intoned as she drew the final symbol for the Circle only to see it burn Black. [This is *not* supposed to be happening!] Aiesha’s mind yelled at her.

“East, South, West, North. Gryphon, Phoenix, Unicorn, Dragon. We have called on the Guardians this evening and they have answered.” Aiesha managed to say even as she replaced the bowl on the altar and walked around to stand in front of the three.

Aiesha looked intently into the eyes of each of the three that stood before her, “Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real the ideals which give meaning to both this ceremony and the institution of marriage. With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be handfasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers. The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth. Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?”

“Yes, we seek to Enter.” Buffy, Willow and Faith answered as one.

“Very well. In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East. Communication of the heart, mind, and body, fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun. The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South. Warmth of hearth and home. The heat of the heart's passion. The light created by all of you to lighten the darkest of times.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West. The deep commitments of the lake, the swift excitement of the river and the refreshing cleansing of the rain. The all encompassing passion of the sea.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North. Firm foundation on which to build Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives. A stable home to which you may always return.

Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union. Join your left hands together,” Aiesha ordered and saw all three women place their left hands over the other with Buffy’s on the bottom, followed by Willow in the center and Faith top-most.

“I bid you look into each others’ eyes. Fëaurúva Arnehtar – Buffy Anne Summers,” Aiesha said as she turned to her right to face Buffy, “Will you have Nólawen Curunirína – Willow Danielle Rosenberg and Ringwën Nuruhuine – Faith Lehane to be your partners?”

“Yes,” Buffy answered.

“Fëaurúva, will you cause the women you love pain?”

“I may.” Buffy replied.

“Is that your intent?”

“No.”

“Will you share their pain and seek to ease it?”

“Yes.”

Satisfied with Buffy’s answers Aiesha turned so she was now facing Willow, “Nólawen Curunirína – Willow Danielle Rosenberg, you have heard the words of Buffy Anne Summers. Is it your wish to be joined with Fëaurúva Arnehtar and Ringwën Nuruhuine as your partners?”

“Yes, will all my heart, yes.” Willow said emphatically.

“Very well Nólawen, Willow, will you cause the women you love pain?”

“I may.”

“Is that your intent?”

“No, never.”

“Will you share their pain and seek to ease it?”

“Yes.” Willow said as she clutched Buffy’s hand tightly.

“Very well,” Aiesha said turning at last to Faith. “Ringwën Nuruhuine – Faith Lehane, you have heard the words of Buffy Anne Summers and Willow Danielle Rosenberg. Is it your with to be joined with them as your partners?”

“Yes.”

“Ringwën, Faith…will you cause the women you love pain?”

“Probably,” Faith answered, knowing the answer was really a ‘yes’.

“Is that your intent?”

“Never,” was Faith’s strong reply.

“Will you look to share their pain and seek to ease it?”

“Always,” Faith said.

“And so the first Binding is made.” Aiesha said as she draped a yellow cord over their arms and tied it loosely. “Fëaurúva, will you share laughter with Ringwën and Nólawen?

“Always,”

“Will you temper your words and actions with love?”

“Yes.” Buffy felt her eyes start to water, but made no move to wipe her eyes.

Aiesha looked at Nólawen and Ringwën in that order, repeating the same questions to them and getting similar replies. “And so the second Binding is made.” Aiesha announced as she draped a red cord over their arms before loosely tying it.

“Fëaurúva, will you face times of darkness and light, happiness, sorrow and hardships with your partners, Ringwën and Nólawen?” Giving them your love, your strength and support?

“Always.”

Aiesha turned to face Willow, “Nólawen, will you face the times of darkness and light, happiness and sorrow with equal passion and strength with Fëaurúva and Ringwën? Giving them your passion, your love and strength?

Willow looked over at Buffy and Faith before answering, “Yes,” was all Willow could say feeling overwhelmed with so many emotions right now.

“Ringwën, will you…”

“Yes,” Faith said cutting Aiesha off before she could finish. “I’ll be there for them…”

Coughing mentally, “Very well. Then let the third Binding be made.” Aiesha said as she draped a green cord over their wrists, tying it loosely. “The ties of this binding are not in the cords around your wrists, but in the vows you have made here this day. Any of you can break your vows as easily as the cords that bind your wrists for they are but a tangible reminder of the vows you made. It is within your power, each of you, as all of you can either hold the making or breaking of this union.” Slowly, Aiesha looked at each of the women in front of her in turn, seeing the joy in their eyes as well as the understanding of what she’d said to them. Taking a deep breath first Aiesha paused before continuing, “Each of you are strong women and strong willed, each one knows their heart and mind and each of you are stubborn in your own way, for an individual this can be a good thing, but that very virtue can easily become a weapon that will injure those you love. A marriage between three people is a beautiful but a difficult thing; it is a flower that requires love, attention and care, but without those things it will soon wither and die. For your three, you will find this to be more so.”

Looking at each of the three women in front of her, “Do not misunderstand me, I do not seek to frighten any of you, but I also know all of you. Nólawen – Willow, I have known you for many years and I am happy to call you my friend. When you do something, you do so whole-heartedly, throwing all of yourself into whatever goal it is you have set your mind on and while that single-mindedness can be a blessing, it also makes you blind sometimes to others around you and their feelings.”

“Ringwën – Faith, your greatest strengths lie in the strength of your will and your passions and emotions that drive you through life. But it is those same passions that can destroy you and those dearest to you if you allow them to rule you as they once did.”

“Fëaurúva – Buffy. You share with Faith the strength of your will, the unshakeable belief in what you are doing, regardless of what you face and a fear of the same passions within you that once controlled Faith. You three are all blessed individually, together however, you create a sum that is greater than the parts... and with that warning there is only one thing remaining, the final Blessing.” Signaling to Meredith to come forward with the three necklaces, Aiesha began again. “You three have given your oaths and promises before both the Goddess and the Guardians this day. Now we will have an outward sign of your promises to one another today. Meredith…”

Meredith heard her cue and stepped forward with the first necklace, stopping next to the High Priestess who was standing in front of Willow.

“Step forward Willow,” Aiesha said as she picked up Willow’s necklace. “Willow Danielle Rosenberg, who is also Nólawen Curunirína, let this necklace be a physical reminder of both your vows this day and a sign to any who see it of the love you hold for your wives.” Turning slightly Aiesha handed the necklace to Faith who was waiting and took the necklace in her own hands.

“Willow, I haven’t known you as long as B and I’m pretty sure you’d like to forget when you did meet me, but I don’t. When I met you you were this nerdy little red-haired girl and I figured you were just a flunkie, then ‘after’, when I woke up you weren’t this nerdy girl anymore, you’d gone and changed.” Faith saw Willow’s blush, “I’m not perfect or even close to it Willow, I can be a serious bitch some times, just ask B.” Faith caught the ever slight movement on Buffy’s face as she hid the smirk as it touched her face. “I do know one thing though, you’re as important to me in my life as B…Buffy is and I can’t imagine not having either of you beside me. Will you do me the honor of being my partner and my lifemate?” Faith asked the last almost hesitantly.

“Yes.” Willow replied with tears shining in her eyes as she lowered her head slightly while sweeping her long hair to the side as Faith slide the necklace around her neck and closed the clasp. As soon as it was around her neck Willow felt a slight tingling from the metal which was already comfortably warm against her skin.

Now it was her turn and Willow turned to her left to face Buffy. “Buffy Summers, when I first met you I never could understand why someone as beautiful and bound to be popular would want to talk to me, much less ask me for help. Then I learned about vampires and the other nasties that exist and how it was your job to fight them alone and I knew I couldn’t just walk away or pretend to forget what I knew. For seven years it was the scariest, most exhilarating times of my life. I learned about magick and that I had a talent for it, that I was gay and then I met one of the most beautiful souls, Tara Maclay and we fell in love. Even when we seemed to drift apart in our friendship I never doubted that you would be there for me if I needed you and you were, but I found my own darkness after Tara died and after everything you refused to give up and still let me back into your life after I came back from England.” Willow paused to collect herself as all her emotions were bubbling through her and threatening to overwhelm her.

“While I was away in England the Coven made me come to grips with a few things I’d been hiding from, one of which was that for seven years I’d been lying to myself about you.” Willow saw a look of alarm pass through Buffy’s eyes before it was masked and took both of Buffy’s hands in her own. “The lie was that I’d been denying I cared about you more than a friend, that I loved you. Even when I was with Tara I held some little piece of myself back from her and I think she knew the truth of how I felt about you but I still couldn’t admit it out loud. But I’m going to here. Buffy Anne Summers, I love you. I have loved you and I will always love you.” To everyone’s surprise as Willow kneeled down in front of Buffy, “Will you marry me Buffy? For better or worse?”

Buffy had listened to Willow and was just as surprised as everyone else when Willow knelt down before her and asked Buffy to marry her. Gently, Buffy picked Willow up. “How could I say no when I love you just as much Willow?” Buffy knew the script for the ceremony had just gone out the window and couldn’t have cared less right now.

“Willow, I don’t’ know when I first realized I was in love with my best friend, that’d be you by the way,” Buffy said with a little grin before becoming serious again, “but I know I tried long and hard to fool myself as to why you were so important. When the Mayor had you I would have given him the world if it meant you’d be safe because nothing else was important if you weren’t there to share it with me. I’ve been alone a lot or I kept those that I said I cared about at a distance, keeping whole parts of myself separate from them this way when the left it wouldn’t hurt so much. Willow, I’m asking you to be my friend, my lover, my sounding board, my partner in everything, parts you’ve already had, but now I want all of that together in one lump as my wife.”

Willow gulped, even as she already knew the answer, all of her emotions felt like they were on overdrive right now and one word was all she could manage to get out. “Yes.” Willow saw Buffy lean forward slightly, sweeping her hair to the side as Meredith stepped forward, handing her Buffy’s necklace. With shaking hands Willow managed to finally close the clasp at the back of Buffy’s necklace before stepping back a step.

“Faith, when we first met you were probably the last person I ever thought I would fall in love with. I wasn’t gay, you were a girl and you were so insanely confident about everything, whatever you saw and wanted you went after. None of which was like me at all, Miss Repressed, there was so much I was attracted to you and terrified of and then when…with the Mayor…and the fight on the roof. We both screwed things up between us so many times, especially me since I kept trying to drive you away from me so I wouldn’t have to look closely at why I was treating you the way I was. I know we put this behind us, but I’ve never said I’m sorry for how I treated you…” Buffy was stopped from saying anything more when Faith touched her lips with her fingertips.

“You just did B. It’s over, behind us and forgotten.”

“I love you. Marry me, warts and all?”

“Forever B. Forever.”

Buffy saw Aiesha with Faith’s necklace and took it from her, putting it around Faith’s neck with nervous fingers.

“You have spoken your vows of love and promises to one another and before the Guardians this day. Turn and face those friends and family who have come to witness this blessed event this day.” Stepping around so that she stood in front of the three. “Ladies and Gentlemen, you have heard their expressions of love now please greet them for the first time. Let me introduce the three brides; Buffy Summers-Lehane, Willow Rosenberg-Summers and Faith Lehane-Summers-Rosenberg.”

The three women stepped forward to a thunderous applause as they headed over to their guests who showered them with rice and flower petals…

++++++++++

Mordor

A dark figure crawled into the mouth of a cave bearing deep wounds even as he swore revenge on the Valar for their interference in Morgoth’s plans here on Middle-Earth and that he would finish what his Master had begun and not even the Valar would stop him from ruling Middle-Earth…


And so Ends Book 2 – Changing Destiny and the adventures of Buffy, Faith and Willow.

To be continued in Book 3 – Broken Futures…

The End

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